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EVALI: nicotine e-cigarettes are finally cleared

February 26, 2020


Hat tip to Twitter user Jonathan Foulds, professor of public health sciences and psychiatry at Penn State University, for noticing what he calls the “the final, quiet admission that nicotine e-cigs never caused EVALI”.

His comments come after the CDC (Centres for Disease Control and Prevention) provided its last bi-weekly update on what’s become known as EVALI or e-cigarettes and vaping product use associated lung injury.  The disease has created bad headlines for the vaping industry with 68 people dying and many more suffering ill health, apparently due to simple old vaping.

However, it quickly became clear that it wasn’t vape as we know it in the UK – highly-regulated nicotine products – that was causing the problem, even if the Daily Mail thought otherwise. No, there were two very specific things about the products that were making people ill: they were black market and they contained THC (the psycho-active substance in cannabis).

It’s taken the authorities in the US a little while to admit the initial hysteria was misplaced but Professor Foulds has spotted it. In its update the CDC squarely places the blame for EVALI with vitamin E acetate, an ingredient that’s never been found in any nicotine vape in the USA. The CDC said:

“Due to continued declines in new EVALI cases since September 2019, and the identification of vitamin E acetate as a primary cause of EVALI, today’s release is the final biweekly CDC update on the number of hospitalized EVALI cases and deaths nationally.” 

The CDC might not want to shout about this but, maybe it’s worth us having a celebratory puff for the vaping community that always stuck with the science throughout the media storm. Happy vaping!